Words: Alastair James; pictures: Zoe McConnell
Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall has shared an empowering message about not fitting in and rising above the haters as part of a book celebrating the history of Sink the Pink.
In a letter featured in Sink the Pink’s Manifesto for Misfits, which chronicles the inclusive club nights legacy over 13 years, the 'Confetti' singer spoke directly to her haters and former bullies and showed how he's risen above them.
Written by Sink the Pink co-founder, Glyn Fussell, the book also features contributions from the likes of Mel C, Yungblud, and Lily Allen.
"I’ve got even more scrutiny and judgement"
In the letter, Jade says, "When I was young, I never knew where I fit in. I still don’t know now which boxes I tick: I don’t conform to the normal gender ideals of what a woman should be, and I guess being mixed-race, I was never Black enough to be in the Black community, never white enough to be white, never Arab enough to be in that community."
She wrote how bullies saw this and used it to torment her through her childhood and teenage years saying that because of that, "I’ve always been kind of a nervous wreck."
"When I was around thirteen years old, I developed an eating disorder," she continues. "When everything else was out of control, anorexia was a way of feeling like I had something I could control myself."
She goes on to say that she thought she'd escaped the bullies after school but becoming a global superstar turned out to be the opposite.
"Now I’ve got even more scrutiny and judgement, constantly. Our culture almost celebrates bullying – just look at the comments sections. But as I got older, I learned to use your insults as fuel. ‘You don’t think I can do this? I’ll prove you wrong!’
"Although I still don’t quite know where I fit in, I’ve learned to not need answers to those questions. The moment I realised I didn’t need a term for who or what I am, I felt more free."
Jade says she's learned not to listen to her inner saboteur and that when she's feeling down, she reminds herself of the positive things.
"Even better, now I get to stand onstage and see mini-mes in the crowd. It warms my heart when I see happy gay couples, or a trans fan with a sign saying, ‘You’ve helped me’. I get to use my platform to influence others now; I get to be that role model to help fans overcome their bullies.
"There really is no better feeling than that," she concludes.